WALTHAM – A Waltham food pantry finallyafter a year of searching. They were nearly being booted from their current location.
“We had several deadlines to be out of many places,” smiled Myriam Michel, Executive Director of Healthy Waltham Food Pantry, “Whether it is raining, cloudy, cold, or hot we are out there, and so are they. This model offers convenience.”
Healthy Waltham serves roughly 650 people at every open pantry. They have been operating out of an old school in town, but the city wants the space. They have had numerous deadlines to be out, but the city keeps extending their stay. The organization has been searching for a home, but they say numerous landlords didn’t want a food pantry in their neighborhood. They contacted a landlord in Waltham about a property on Felton Street. The owner had seen their pleas on our newscast, and quickly accepted their offer.
“The funny thing is the day I was walking up to see the property on Good Friday, the landlord said, I recognize you from TV. You’re doing good work here! And I can’t believe that you can’t find a space,” remembered Michel. “He decided, ‘Oh, even if I had two or three offers, I would still choose you.”
Their new landlord also operates a thrift store. He will be partnering with the pantry to utilize the parking lot to sell inexpensive clothing from the thrift shop during pantry hours. Healthy Waltham hopes to partner with other non-profits to bring wrap around services for their clients. The second floor of the building is expected to be a space where other non-profits can work out of. The first floor will operate as a pantry.
“We are hoping this to be light and airy and you feel like you’re coming into your local grocery store,” detailed Michel, “We want to have a mini-waiting room where we will also access need. We anticipate having a wall of refrigerators and freezers similar to a grocery store, and a middle produce area.”
The space is still being renovated and will require roughly $500,000 to be completed. The pantry is looking for donations.
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